This week in the bulls: basketball is our only hope
I’ve been a long-time follower of the idea that one of the best reasons to be a sports fan is the way it opens up informal conversations and new friendships. Sit next to an alien wearing a Bulls hat on a plane and you can become instant brothers (gender neutral) by bonding with the basketball genius of Lonzo Ball, the midrange mastery of DeMar DeRozan , to the joy of GarPax to be pissed off or at the time Nazr Mohammed hilariously pushed LeBron’s ass to the floor.
For all the doors that sport can open with new people, being able to talk about your teams as a family is even better. If you’re like me, the fandom has been passed down from generation to generation. I guess that’s the way most of the people here, if only because no one would willingly expose themselves to becoming emotionally involved in the Chicago Bear.
Honestly, I don’t think there has ever been a better time to talk about sports with your loved ones, and it has nothing to do with sports, really. Discussing politics, the pandemic, or the current horrors of the world in general is a great way to feel even more isolated from the people you love. We’ve all done this shit for the past few years and it’s rare for anyone to learn anything or change their mind.
Take your fucking photos, please, and then let’s get down to the good stuff. Want to win quickly and easily with your aunts, uncles and cousins this holiday season? Just say four little words that speak to the one universal truth we can all agree on: “The Bulls are back. “
I really feel like it’s a team that can resonate with anyone. The Bulls have a squad that is both serious and fun as hell. They dive to the ground to fly, throw full passes across the field, and do 360 dunks – sometimes all on the same game. Zach LaVine’s bounce and shot has universal appeal. Lonzo keeps all five positions, bombs three and makes brilliant passes. Alex Caruso’s relentless stalking at points of attack can cross party lines. Ayo Dosunmu brings the local angle. DeRozan is essentially late-career Michael Jordan. And like all the best teams this city has ever had to offer, they fight back every night.
Imagine how terrible it would be without our guys. The Bears are more pathetic than ever right now. MLB owners have locked down the players with no end in sight. The Blackhawks stink. The only other redeemable teams in this town are the Sky and the Red Stars – and yes, it only takes me 1.5 drinks or so to start talking with the Courtney VanderSloot propaganda.
I applaud casual fans for going offline during the Boylen era, but now is the time to come back. The Bulls come in at Christmas in second place in the East, and that doesn’t sound like fluke. This team is really good, and beyond that, they are also extremely friendly.
The Bulls are back, say it loud, say it proud. There is nothing better to say.
DeMar DeRozan is everything
Someone tells David Falk to send the fax because DeMar DeRozan is back. After missing three games in health and safety protocol, DeMar picked up where he left off on his comeback against the the Los Angeles Lakers by achieving without doubt his best effort of the season.
He finished the night with 38 points – including 19 in an epic fourth quarter to win the Lake Show sweep of the season for the Bulls. Let DeMar get his instant death as he has proven time and time again this season. There’s really no way to stop him from getting there that doesn’t involve throwing multiple defenders at him.
I love the way DeMar intimidated Russ Westbrook on this play: charge over the edge after crossing the half-court line, initiate contact with his shoulder, push him back twice into post position, then turn into a no perfect side to create just enough separation to come out of the shot.
The winner was even more beautiful. After a great rebound from Javonte Green, DeMar measured LeBron and pulled a pull-up just a few steps from the three-point line.
Cash. The bulls win.
The most underrated aspect of DeRozan’s success continues to be his ability to get and make free throws. He went 16 of 17 from the foul line against the Lakers, including 5-5 in the fourth quarter. DeRozan is second in the league in free throw attempts per game (7.7), behind Giannis. He’s also in the top 10 in free throw percentage at 89.5% over the year.
The consistency of the time of crisis is simply amazing. He’s really like that in every game.
NBA 4Q PPG Scores Leaders
This season (after Bulls-Lakers)
1. DeRozan 8.2
2. Antetokounmpo 7.3
3. During 7.0
4. Cole Anthony 7.0
5. Tatum 6.9
– Kevin Anderson (@Kevin_NBCS) 20 December 2021
As good as DeMar is, the game of the week goes to Lonzo for his assist from Hail Mary against the Rockets.
I promise you that makes it even better.
Lonzo Ball threw his arms up in the touchdown signal after that full pass to DeRozan for a hoop. It’s classic.
– KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 21, 2021
Lonzo has been doing this stuff since high school, and he’s still just as effective as he always has been. I wrote an article about Lonzo from the 2016 McDonald’s All-American game, and this exact type of game was my lede:
CHICAGO – Lonzo Ball found himself in a familiar predicament on Wednesday night: his team amassed 20 points in the dying minutes of a game, his brain still wired as if he didn’t have a second to spare.
The McDonald’s All-American Game was already a blowout late in the second half when Kentucky commit Bam Adebayo picked up a blocked shot and slammed it through the net. Ball waited impatiently out of bounds, squeezing his hands frantically until someone gave him the ball so he could get it in. In one swing, Ball made a one-handed pass to the opposite free-throw line to hit teammate Josh Jackson in stride for a dunk. The entire streak took less than two seconds of playing time.
“Thank goodness for Lonzo Ball,” Jackson said after the game as he accepted his co-MVP trophy.
Never stop, Zo.
Coby pwns LeBron
OK, maybe this is the game of the week.
Dude, everything is fine. Coby went on to drop 24 points on 5 of 9 three-pointers to the Rockets.
I know Coby frustrated a lot of them, but this team could really use their optimal version. The bulls are No. 29 in the league in bench scoring. Coby should be Pine’s designated bucket-getter. He’s had a really tough year with the offseason shoulder injury, catching Covid and trying to fit into a whole new, totally awesome squad. The Bulls can be patient with him until he gets back into shape, and I really hope that happens.
Coby is just too good a shot to finish the season with 27% of his three. This number will increase. One thing I noticed in a awesome new Zach Kram video from The Ringer: Coby is No. 9 all-time in most three-way games until the age of 21.
He also seems to be a lovely guy. I love what he’s been doing with his pre-game outfits for the past two years.
If Coby can cook ahead of the playoffs that would be a big boost for the bench. Crossed fingers.
Benny the Troll
This is art.
Unfortunately, Caruso came out with a sprained foot
No need to rush like last time, AC. Withdraw the rest of 2021.
Alex Caruso will be reassessed in 7-10 days after sustaining a sprained left foot in Monday’s game against the Houston Rockets. pic.twitter.com/4CPiLKvuNm
– Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) 23 December 2021
Javonte is an agent of chaos
And we love him for that.
What do Alfonzo McKinnie and I have in common?
Please keep him around, Bulls. It was real, Matt Thomas.
Just when the Bulls pulled everyone out of health and safety protocols ….
I let out a completely disturbed noise while reading this. What the hell.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan enters health and safety protocols
– Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) December 24, 2021
As Mr. J Draft said:
The only person not catching Covid right now? Lonzo.
Siri, play “I don’t like shit, I don’t go out.”
Lonzo Ball on not catching COVID in the recent Bulls outbreak: “I mean, I’m not really overdoing it. I just play and go home.”
– Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) December 21, 2021
We are a relatable king.
Finally, Zach is back.
I’ll let DeMar have the final say here.
DeRozan on LaVine’s absence: “He makes my job so much easier. I texted him after the game, ‘Get your ass back ASAP.'”
– KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) 20 December 2021
Actually, I’m gonna let this guy have the long word.
This was The Booz News.